Nespresso brewers feature different kinds of alerts compared to Keurig, one of which is the half-red, half-yellow alert.
To eliminate built-up limescale, you must descale your brewer whenever this indicator light comes on. Proper descaling of Nespresso machines entails using a commercial descaling solution.
What does half-red half-yellow mean on Nespresso?
The half-red, half-yellow light on a Nespresso coffee maker means that you need to descale the machine. The Nespresso user manual describes the descale indicator light as red-green, but for many owners, this indicator light usually appears as red-yellow.
Nespresso espresso machines gradually accumulate calcium and limescale due to the use of hard water for brewing. When the calcium buildup is in excess, it affects the quality of the brewed coffee, the temperature of the water used for brewing, and the brewer’s overall flow and functionality.
To fix this issues, Nespresso coffee machines feature the half-red, half-yellow status light to let users know it’s time to descale the machine with commercial solutions like Urnex Dezcal Coffee and Espresso descale.
Note: Hard water contains lime. Thus, if you live in a region with hard water, the red-yellow light will come on more frequently since limescale builds up quickly inside the Nespresso coffee machine.
How to fix half-red and half-yellow light on a Nespresso
To brew great-tasting coffee and keep your Nespresso brewer in good working order, you need to descale it whenever the half-red, half-yellow alert comes on. The Nespresso brand recommends descaling your coffee machine every three months or after brewing 300 coffee capsules.
Here’s a detailed guide on descaling your Nespresso to deactivate the half-red, half-yellow alert.
i. Turn on your Nespresso espresso machine. Then, lift the brewer’s head and eject the used capsule from the pod holder.
ii. Next, close the brewer by pushing the brewer’s head down. Then, press and hold down the lever on the brewer’s head for 3 seconds to power off the Nespresso machine.
iii. Empty the drip tray and the collecting cup underneath the dispenser spout.
iv. Remove the Nespresso cold water reservoir and empty it. Then, fill it with 1 unit of descaling solution +17 ounces of water. Re-insert the water tank inside the brewer unit.
v. Simultaneously press the brew button and the brew head lever for 3 seconds to navigate the special functions menu. A steady, orange light should come on at this point.
vi. To enter ‘descale’ mode, push and release the brewer head lever. Then, place a collecting jar with a minimum capacity of 27 ounces on the drip tray/under the coffee spout.
vii. To start the descaling process, press and release the brew button once. At this point, the steady orange light should start blinking and continue blinking throughout the descaling process. You’ll notice the descaling solution being dispensed at intermittent intervals as descaling proceeds. This solution from the spout contains limescale deposits dislodged from the Nespresso machine’s internal parts.
viii. Once the descale brew cycle completes, the Nespresso brewer will automatically stop. However, you can always stop the descale cycle manually by pressing the brew button.
ix. Remove the water reservoir and empty out any leftover descaling solution. Then, clean the tank and refill it with clean, fresh water. Empty and rinse the cup support and return it to the drip tray.
x. Push and release the brew button to perform a rinse cycle. Wait for the cycle to complete before emptying and refilling the water reservoir.
xi. Finally, exit the ‘descale’ mode by pushing and holding the lever of the brew head and the brew button for 3 seconds. At this point, the light will turn green instead of the original half-red, half-yellow alert. Once done with descaling, let the Nespresso brewer sit idle for at least 10 minutes before using it again.
Once you’ve successfully descaled your Nespresso-espresso machine, the red-yellow alert should be replaced by a steady green light. If the half-red, half, yellow light stays on even after descaling, you likely made a mistake during the descaling process. Common errors include waiting too long between subsequent steps in the descaling process and not completely emptying the water reservoir.
It could also be that there was just too much limescale buildup inside your Nespresso machine and a single descale cycle isn’t enough to get rid of it. Excessive limescale could be due to hard water in your area or failure to descale your coffee machine for over three months.
It could also be that you’ve continued using your Nespresso for a while after the red-yellow alert first came up. Whichever the case, you’ll need to undertake one or two more descale cycles to eliminate all calcium buildups inside your Nespresso machine completely.
Note: If you’ve performed up to 3 descale cycles, but the half-red, half-yellow light on your Nespresso brewer is still on, you may have to reset the brewer manually. Follow the steps detailed below to reset your Nespresso espresso machine manually:
i. Push and hold the brew head lever for 3 seconds to power off the machine.
ii. Press and hold the brew button and the lever simultaneously to enter the special functions mode. A steady orange light should come on at this point.
iii. Next, navigate to factory settings by pushing and releasing the lever three times.
iv. Press the brew button to reset the Nespresso. At this point, the steady orange light will blink thrice before turning steady green to indicate that you’ve successfully reset the machine and deactivated the descale alert.
Note: If the red-yellow light on your Nespresso still won’t turn off even after descaling and resetting the machine, send it to the nearest appliance repair center for professional troubleshooting and repair. Contact the Nespresso support team for further assistance if the machine is under warranty coverage.
Tips for Nespresso maintenance
To keep your Nespresso machine in excellent working condition, consider adopting the following maintenance tips and tidbits:
i. Use only a commercial descaling solution to descale your Nespresso brewer. While vinegar is recommended as a natural alternative for descaling appliances, it’s not suitable for Nespresso coffee makers. Vinegar has a high acetic acid content, which causes the metallic parts of the Nespresso machine to wear down and develop leaks.
ii. Ensure you regularly clean the various components of your Nespresso brewer to keep brewing great-tasting coffee. These include the water tank, the steam wand, and the pod holder assembly. Part of keeping the machine clean also entails removing used capsules from the pod holder.
Nespresso.com: Machine Assistance